A good steady comfort
Our church just started a sermon series on 1 Corinthians and already I've found something strengthening.
In the last two months I've found things pretty tough and have been tired, cranky and angry inside. Some days it has been so bad that I felt like I was internally haemorrhaging bile and bitterness.
On those days I wondered about my Christian life. Surely this couldn't be good? Was I slipping? Was I really ok? Did God even care? And surely I was so bad that I couldn't be loved by him.
The passage below from the first chapter of 1 Corinthians has been a great comfort, however. The church at Corinth was in some pretty serious trouble. They had internal disagreements, anger and factions. They had sexual sin, disorder, disruptions and immorality. They had confusion about idols, prayer and conduct. They had already had a bit of a dressing down from Paul in a previous letter.
And yet in this letter, his very first words to them were words of thanksgiving.
"I give thanks to my God always for you because..."
Because of what though? Because of their great behaviour? Their wonderful faith? Their outstanding good works?
Not even close. Paul gave thanks to God for them because of God himself. He gave thanks for God's work in saving them, calling them, enriching them and keeping them safe until the end.
In my difficult state of mind, I've been thanking God for his work in my life. Even though I'm struggling, God is faithful. His work in my life is sturdy, strong and sustaining.
And oddly enough, just remembering that God's work is what it's all about, not my work, has been enough to turn my state of mind around. Things are a lot better this week!
"I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge -even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you - so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:4-9